2021 Independent Spirit Award Nominations

Finally we have nominations to talk about! The extended Oscar dates are killing me this year. It's weird not to already be talking about this, but thankfully the Indie Spirits are here to give us something. They even expanded their categories to include scripted series this year. Below are a list of the nominations, followed by my thoughts.

Best Feature

First Cow

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom


Never Rarely Sometimes Always


Of these, I haven't seen Minari or Nomadland yet. They haven't been released here, but I look forward to both. I figured NRSA would get a lot of love here, so I'm happy to see that and Ma Rainey. First Cow was fine. 

Best Director

Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari”

Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”

Eliza Hittman,” Never Rarely Sometimes Always”

Kelly Reichardt, “First Cow”

Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland”

WOMEN! Can you imagine the Oscars picking 4 female nominees? I can't. I love the Spirit Wards for this.

Best First Feature

“I Carry You With Me”

“The 40 Year Old Version”

“The Sound of Metal”

“Miss Juneteenth”

“Nine Days”

The ones I'm most excited for here are The 40 year Old Version and The Sound of Metal. I liked Miss Juneteenth as well, though not as much as the other two. I still need to see i Carry You With Me and Nine Days. 

Best Female Lead

Nicole Beharie, “Miss Juneteenth”

Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Sidney Flanigan, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”

Julia Garner, “The Assistant”

Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”

Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”

I'm glad Julia Garner wasn't forgotten in The Assistant. Apparently Pieces of a Woman wasn't eligible, so that explains why Vanessa Kirby isn't here. That surprised me at first. I'm disappointed Radha Blank isn't here though. She absolutely deserved it for The Forty-Year-Old Version. 

Best Male Lead

Riz Ahmed, “The Sound of Metal”

Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Rob Morgan, “Bull”

Steven Yeun, “Minari”

Adarsh Gourav, “The White Tiger”

I haven't seen Minari, Bull and White Tiger but I'm always here for Rob Morgan and Steven Yeun love. I plan on watching The White Tiger soon. I love that Riz and Chadwick are here, those are easily two of my favorite performances of the year.

Best Supporting Female

Alexis Chikaeze, Miss Juneteenth

Yeri Han, Minari

Valerie Mahaffey, French Exit

Talia Ryder, Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Yuh-jung Youn, Minari

I'm really exicited about Alexis getting in for Miss Juneteenth, that was her first role and she was so good. Same with Talia Ryder for NRSA.

Best Supporting Male

Coleman Domingo, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Orion Lee, “First Cow”

Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal”

Glynn Turmann, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Benedict Wong, “Nine Days”

I haven't seen Nine Days, though I love me some Benedict Wong. This category is awesome. I love this nominations as well.

Best Screenplay

“Bad Education”


“The Half of It”

“Never Rarely Sometimes Always”

“Promising Young Woman”

Seeing The Half of It here is a surprise. That was a sweet little film and it's nice to see it get some praise. 

Best First Screenplay

Kitty Green, The Assistant

Noah Hutton, Lapsis

Channing Godfrey Peoples, Miss Juneteenth

Andy Siara, Palm Springs

James Sweeney, Straight Up

Again, I'm happy The Assistant isn't forgotten. It's nice to see Palm Springs get a nod as well.

Best Cinematography

Jay Keitel, She Dies Tomorrow

Shabier Kirchner, Bull

Michael Latham, The Assistant

Hélène Louvart, Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Joshua James Richards, Nomadland

Best Editing

“I Carry You With Me”

“The Invisible Man”


“Never Rarely Sometimes Always”


Robert Altman Award

“One Night in Miami”

Best Documentary


“Crip Camp”

“Dick Johnson Is Dead”


“The Mole Agent”

Best International Film


The Disciple

Night of the Kings

Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time

Quo Vadis, Aida?

I'm not sure if Another Round qualified here, but if it didn't that's a ridiculous miss

Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series

Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children

City So Real

Immigration Nation

Love Fraud

We’re Here

Best Scripted Series

I May Destroy You

Little America

Small Axe

A Teacher


These categories are new this year. I haven't seen Little America or A Teacher but I May Destroy You and Unorthodox were some of the best things I've watched on television this/last year. Small Axe was good too.

Best Female Performance in a Scripted Series

Elle Fanning, The Great

Shira Haas, Unorthodox

Abby McEnany, Work in Progress

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Never Have I Ever

Jordan Kristine Seamón, We Are Who We Are

Shira Haas is magnificent in Unorthodox and I hope she wins, I'm assuming Michael Coel didn't qualify because the entire I May Destroy You team got the Ensemble award. 

Best Male Performance in a Scripted Series

Conphidance, Little America

Adam Ali, Little America

Nicco Annan, P-Valley

Amit Rahav, Unorthodox

Harold Torres, Zero, Zero, Zero

Best Ensemble Cast in a New Scripted Series

I May Destroy You

Ensemble Cast: Michaela Coel, Paapa Essiedu, Wruche Opia,


  1. I'm liking these nods and 4 women nominated for Best Director. This feels right. I hope one of them wins as I do have First Cow in my DVR hard drive while I'm totally on board for NRSA to win some awards.

    1. First Cow is fine, it's not my favorite Kelly Reichardt films but it's definitely second.

  2. It feels so weird to be this close to February and not even close to talking about the big awards! There's still so much I haven't seen yet but there's a lot to be happy with in these nominations <3

    1. I know! We should've already watched The Globes and SAGs by now.

  3. I only have heard of Ma Rainey's so I lack so much knowledge this year. I plan to look all of these up later after work. I just realized that the Golden Globes were not around at all! Have they cancelled them this year? When will the Oscar noms come out? I have so many questions:)

    1. They just pushed them back like they did the Oscars. The entire awards calendar is a mess this year.


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